What Exactly Is Meditation?
I’ll be honest, when I first heard people talking about meditation the picture in my head was of a Buddhist monk sitting cross legged on a cushion and chanting ohms over and over into the air. I really had no idea what it was or how on earth to do it. I didn’t understand how this could be of any help to me.
I’ve since learned that the picture in my head really wasn’t very accurate at all, well maybe it was back in ancient days but today’s meditation can look quite different.
What Are The Benefits of Meditation?
What I’ve come to learn is the benefits of meditation are many. It is a great way to handle stress and anxiety as it reduces negative emotions, increases self-awareness and you’ll find your patience and tolerance are greatly increased.
Meditation is also a gateway for getting in touch with your higher self. The act of sitting in a quiet space and focusing on the here and now, the present moment, is very peaceful. Sitting and focusing on your breathing and the feel and the sound of the breath going in and out creates a tranquil mindset which in turn helps you to hear what your sub-conscious mind may be trying to tell you.
So often we are too busy with our daily lives and living in the past with our thoughts or worried about what the future holds that we fail to listen. Meditation can help provide you with the answers to your life’s questions that you may actually already know but are too distracted to hear.
How Do You Meditate?
Meditation works best when there are minimal distractions and you’re in a peaceful, quiet environment. I know it is hard sometimes to find this, especially these days when working from home is the norm and the kids are mostly home schooling. But a tranquil quiet space is essential. You need to be able to focus without the worry of being interrupted.
Find a comfortable seat sitting upright and alert. You can play soft instrumental-only music in the background or nothing at all. The whole idea is to be able to hear and focus on your breathing only.
Mentally begin relaxing all of the muscles in your body starting from your head and going all the way down to your toes. Then just be. Just listen to your breath, letting any thought that comes into your mind come and go without judgement. Do not focus on it at all.
How Long Should You Meditate?
How long and how often is entirely up to you. But start by doing this 10 minutes a day or every other day and increase from there. You will find that once your meditation is over you were so relaxed and comfortable you didn’t want it to end.
What Type of Meditation?
You can do your own meditation at your own pace playing soft music in the background or complete silence and just focus on your own breathing. Being mindful of only this present moment.
Or you can do a guided meditation. Guided meditation encourages relaxation through mental imagery. You’ll be led by a or guide or teacher into places and situations you find relaxing. You can download an app on your phone or you can look up a YouTube video for help.
When to Meditate?
You can do meditation in the morning which helps you to start your day focused, energetic and positive. Or you can meditate at night which helps in reducing the stress of the day and clearing of the mind for better sleep. It is entirely up to you what type you do and when. I prefer morning meditation as I like to start out my day with a calm and peaceful mind.
Enjoy the Process
Just remember that there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Do not get discouraged when you find your mind wandering, that is natural and will improve over time. Experiment and find whatever feels comfortable for you.
This book is amazing for when you are first starting off with meditation. It is super easy reading and is easy to navigate through and quickly find specific exercises to help you work through whatever obstacle or emotion it is you’re dealing with.
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Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday
Here are a few apps as well that you can check out to get you started on your mediation journey:
- Insight Timer